Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

10 differences between college and school

10 differences between college and school

Both educational environments, both places of learning, both breeding grounds for drama, friendships, arguments and young love. With all these similarities, what makes college and school so different?

Here are my 10 differences between college and school…

  1. Firstly, you may think you wake up early for school, but believe me, if you can’t get to school on time for 8:45am there is no way you’re going to find it easy getting to class on time. Classes can start as early as at 8:00am but at UCB you’re late if you’re not there 10 minutes early. Also if like me you’re on a food based course you have to get changed which means you need to be in the changing room at 7:30am latest and depending on how far you live and how long it takes you to get ready in the morning (maybe like me an absurd amount of time) that could mean waking up around 6:00am. You’re in for a shock!

2. Secondly, friendship for me is very important, I’m massively loyal to my friends and having friends from school, home and college has greatly enhanced my life. Friendship at college is slightly different to school as there is a wider variety of people and maybe cultures (depending on where you went to school). Starting college, you also have to be more proactive with the way you make friends – the effortless approach just isn’t going to cut it! Friendships can also be more valuable there because you have the subject you’re studying in common with your classmates. So for example, when I drone on about the latest MasterChef episode, the newest cookbook or some amazing new piece of equipment I have bought (e.g. the spiralizer that has changed my life), I now have friends who are as interested as me!

3. Thirdly, one of the great perks of college is getting to dress how you want. As a self-confessed fashion lover you can imagine I don’t exactly turn up to college in joggers and a jumper. Finding my own style has been really rewarding for me over the last year, as spending all your time in school uniform and only having 2 days a week to express yourself can supress your personal style. That being said, I did get dressed faster in the morning at school!

4. Next, this one may not seem an important point until you’ve experienced it, but class length is one thing I’ve found extremely different in college. At school, all classes are one hour long and at most schools the day tends to be structured with two one hour classes then a break, another set of two one hour classes and then lunch followed by a final one hour lesson. This does mean that between each lesson you have a few minutes to gather yourself, socialise and allow your brain to rest. This opportunity is GONE at college, with up to four or five hour lessons with no break. At the start of the year, I found this a massive leap from school. However, it does allow you to continually focus – so in a weird way, time actually seems to drag less.

5. The next one may also seem like a silly point, however, starting as a Chef student at UCB it did get me thinking. At school teachers are addressed as Sir or Miss. At UCB I now instead spend 95% of my time yelling the word CHEF at the top of my voice. Our lecturers are now referred to as Chef, for example Chef Davidson or Chef Hunter. I can do this with confidence and ease now but during my first few months I found it weirdly difficult.

6. Self-motivation is my next point. At school, teachers are more willing to push you along and sometimes may give you more help than you should be getting. College is a great place if you’re hard working, as motivating yourself makes your life and your tutor’s easier. And what’s more, you’ll get heavily rewarded for it in your grades and the opportunities you’re offered.

7. You will be broke. This is not an if, not a maybe, it is pretty much a guarantee of your first few months at college.  Your money just seems to be bizarrely drained, with bus and train fairs amounting to more than you were maybe expecting and the temptation of the Bullring, one of the country’s best shopping centres, often becoming irresistable. College also seems to make everyone very hungry, whether that is grabbing a bite in one of the 5th or 8th floor cafés in Summer Row or venturing into Birmingham to sample from the plethora of restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and coffee shops!

8. Next, love life. I’m going to keep this point short and sweet! At school it’s easy to have relationships as you’re with that person pretty much all the time. Dating at college requires a bit more effort: people have come from lots of different places, have different schedules and it’s altogether a bit more grown up!

However, an upside to breaking out into the real-life dating world is that there are also many, many more fish in the sea. So if playground romances weren’t ever really your thing, with thousands of people lining the halls this September those new-term butterflies could be hitting you for the very first time.

9. The saying goes that sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. But in reality? Names can hurt, and they can stick. At school you may have had a nickname, label or persona that over five years you’ve found it hard to shift. If this is a problem then college is the perfect place for you, as reinventing yourself is what college is all about. I’ve found it to be a far less judgmental place.

10. Lastly, independence is the thing I’ve gained most from coming to college. I love being a more adult and mature individual. Even little things like travelling on my own, spending my money how I want, being able sort my own schedule out and taking more responsibility when it comes to work, has been amazing.

So here is my list of the differences between college and school. I hope this helps give you some idea of what to expect as well as a few things to get excited about!